Pres­i­dent Trump’s shut­down has shed light on the trou­bling re­al­ity that mil­lions of Amer­i­cans live pay­check to pay­check. The shut­down, now the long­est in his­tory, has fed­eral em­ploy­ees un­able to cover ba­sic costs. Putting aside monthly re­serves for emer­gen­cies has been a fi­nan­cial non­starter for too many.

While the new year of­ten means res­o­lu­tions and an op­por­tu­nity to start anew, for 800,000 fed­eral em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies, the shut­down has brought fi­nan­cial havoc.

What does this mean for our fed­er­ally em­ployed neigh­bors, fam­ily mem­bers and friends? They now need to rely on the fi­nan­cial sup­port of fam­ily, max out credit cards or ne­go­ti­ate with land­lords to cover rent and buy the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties.

With the shut­down likely to con­tinue, lo­cal govern­ment and non­prof­its must play a role. We can lift each other up when re­sources are prop­erly de­ployed and ed­u­ca­tional tools are put to use. Mo­ments of cri­sis can also be a time to re­flect on how to make fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity a re­al­ity for ev­ery fam­ily.

In re­cent years, I have worked to cre­ate chil­dren’s sav­ings ac­counts and promoted lend­ing cir­cles as vi­able and flex­i­ble tools for fam­i­lies to save for emer­gen­cies. Many of these ideas have been vet­ted by eco­nomic devel­op­ment re­searchers and rec­om­mended in a 2016 Pros­per­ity Ini­tia­tives Ac­tion Plan, which was pre­pared in ALEXAN­DRA VILLOCH PUB­LISHER JOHN S. KNIGHT (1894-1981)

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